Neustadt International Prize

2006 - Claribel Alegría

Born: May 12, 1924, Estelí, Nicaragua

Author's Quote : "Don't set up barriers It's useless My unsheathed heart Hurtles toward you"

Field: Poet, Essayist, Novelist, and Journalist

Prize share: 1/1

Books Written By Claribel Alegría

About Claribel Alegría

Alegría was born in Estelí, Nicaragua and grew up in the Santa Ana area in western El Salvador. In 1943, she moved to the United States and in 1948 received a B.A. in Philosophy and Letters from George Washington University. Alegría was committed to nonviolent resistance. She had a close association with the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which overthrew Anastasio Somoza Debayle and took control of the Nicaraguan government in 1979. Alegría returned to Nicaragua in 1985 to aid in the reconstruction of Nicaragua.

Alegría now lives in Managua, Nicaragua.

Alegría's works of literature reflect the style of the popular literary current in Central America during the 1950s and 1960s, "la generacion comprometida" (the committed generation). Her works follow the practice of several poets of her generation who are critical of their societies and make claims for rights using a language which is often counter-literary. Alegría has published many books of poetry: Casting Off (2003), Sorrow (1999), Umbrales (1996), Fuga de Canto Grande (1992) and La Mujer del Río (1989).

Alegría has published novels and children's stories.


Death of Somoza - Claribel Alegría

By Peter D. Bellone

I just finished this book two weeks ago. It's short and engaging, so for anyone interested in central american history there is no excuse not to read this book. It's a day by day account of the plotting and carrying out of a murder of a man who probably deserved it. All the details are laid out: how they found out where Somoza was, how they got the safe house( which is a great story in itself which I won't reveal), their fears and gaffes, etc. What really struck me was the abscence of self-glorification. This group struck down the man who held the record for theft until Marcos and his wife left town about ten years later. You would think they were entitled to a little dance in the end zone, not them though, they were all business about it. So allow me to raise a toast for them. Though this isn't the kind of story that's supposed to warm one's heart, it does satisfy. In this age there are too many examples of dictators either dying of old age at home or living the life of riley in exile: stalin, pinochet, stroessner, imelda marcos, idi amin, and that guy from ethiopia whose name escapes me, and castro( technically he's neither but the man got away with it and that's my point) to name a few, it's good to know that justice prevails every once in awhile. And I think these people deserve our praise and more people should read and know this story.

Death of Somoza - Claribel Alegría

By Brian M. Straight

This one definitely ranks right up there with Ana Guadalupe Martinez' "Las Carceles Clandestinas" and Roque Dalton's "Miguel Marmol". The reader will find the last chapter the best, when Comandante Ramon discusses the nervousness and apprehensions he and the "compas" feel when the moment for action is upon them. I had a hard time putting the book down, and for anyone who has ever lived/traveled in the Central American region and knows the hardships and history of the people well, this short piece is a must have, if for nothing else than its extraordinary retelling of one of the most remarkable events pertinent to the region in the last 50 years.